National register established as payment heat continues
Three out of the four big banks have provided payment performance data in the inaugural National Payment Transparency Register, as the push for shorter payment times continues.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman newly established register aims to promote best practice in business-to-business payments, with 11 companies having signed up as of 14 December 2017.
The national register was established following an inquiry into payment times and practices in association with the ASBFEO, the Institute of Public Accountants, the Council of Small Business Australia, the Australian Institute of Credit Management and in partnership with the Small Business Commissioners in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The inaugural publication shows the average time to pay ranges between 14 days and 40, with CBA, NAB and ANZ taking between 17 to 33 days.
Other signatories include telecommunications provider Telstra, law firm King & Wood Mallesons, education provider Navitas, and real estate group Mirvac.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the snapshot compared favourably with some multinational companies, which wrote payment terms of 60-120 days into their contracts.
“The register is under ongoing review and development,” Ms Carnell said.
“We hope it will become a reference point to encourage and promote improved payment time performance.”
The Ombudsman also invites signatories to the Australian Supplier Payment Code to promote their practices on the register.
The code commits participating organisations to pay eligible Australian small business suppliers on time and within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the code was a positive step but lacked accountability.
“The Business Council of Australia initiative acknowledged the problem of late payments but didn’t provide a reporting mechanism,” she said.
“We wrote to the signatories and invited them to publish their payment performance data.
“I congratulate the companies that responded and urge others to be equally transparent.”
Small business suppliers are encouraged to let the Ombudsman’s office know if the terms on the register are not being met or if they are experiencing constant late payments or subject to terms being extended.